DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Brad Keselowski has finally won at Daytona International Speedway, a track that had eluded him despite strong success in restrictor plate races.
Keselowski has four career victories at Talladega Superspeedway, including a win there in May. But he could never pull it off at Daytona, at least not until Saturday night’s dominating run.
He said his futility at Daytona was “a kick in the you-know-what,” but he and his No. 2 Ford crew kept chipping away at it even after he had a disappointing run in the season-opening Daytona 500.
“I’ve doubted myself here,” said Keselowski, who had just three top-10 finishes in 14 previous starts at Daytona.
The win was the 100th for Team Penske.
“It’s Daytona and this is huge, I love this place,” Keselowski said.
The race was marred by a 22-car accident that collected more than half the field and thinned the competition for Keselowski. It really only left Kyle Busch as a legitimate contender, but a restart for a two-lap shootout that sent it into overtime forced Keselowski to earn the win.
He easily held off Busch, and challenger Kurt Busch was eliminated when he was knocked out of line as they headed to the checkered flag.
Trevor Bayne finished third and was followed by Keselowski teammate Joey Logano and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as Ford drivers took four of the top five spots.
It was a plan to work together and disrupt the Toyota contingent that used teamwork to dominate the Daytona 500. Instead, Kyle Busch was the only Toyota driver to finish inside the top 10.
Kyle Larson was sixth and the highest finishing Chevrolet. He was followed by Austin Dillon, who ended last year’s race in an airborne accident, then pole-sitter Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer.
Michael McDowell was 10th.
Tony Stewart, seeking his fifth victory in his final race at Daytona, was in contention until a late accident. He finished 26th.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the defending race winner, but never contended Saturday night and finished 21st.